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Eco-stoves clients stuck as refund stalls

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th December 2014 05:14 PM

The clients, who have now lost hope, suspect that Ecostove Systems staff could have used the idea of a refund to bait unsuspecting customers.

Eco-stoves clients stuck as refund stalls

The clients, who have now lost hope, suspect that Ecostove Systems staff could have used the idea of a refund to bait unsuspecting customers.

By Chris Kiwawulo

Scores of people who bought Eco-stoves on the understanding they will get a refund from the UN for saving the environment say Eco-stove Systems, the maker of the stove who made the promise has failed to pay them and neither is it directing them to the concerned UN office.

Located in Wakaliga-Nateete in Rubaga division, Kampala, Eco-stove Systems sells the environmentally-friendly stoves at between sh650,000 and sh1.5m depending on the size.

The stove comes with a solar system attached. The company says it attaches German and British solar systems to the stove which burns stones and charcoal dust to generate energy for cooking, lighting and charging electric appliances.

The clients, who have now lost hope, suspect that Ecostove Systems staff could have used the idea of a refund to bait unsuspecting customers.

“We were told that officials from the United Nations (UN) would visit us after one year of using the stoves and refund our money but, it is now over a year and no one has shown up. When we inquire from Ecostove systems officials, they say it is not them who are to refund the money.

 “When we ask for contacts of the said UN officials, they keep tossing us up and down,” lamented Jimmy Adriko, one of the beneficiaries who qualified to get his refund in March this year.

Eco-stove System primary contact person in the country, Rose Twine maintained that a team working on carbon credits from the UN were the ones assessing their clients to find out how best they have been using the Eco-stoves before refunding their (clients’) money.

“They do not go to everyone at ago,” Twiine said.

“They randomly pick on the clients every after one year and find out how many bags of charcoal they were using before, and how many they are using after acquiring the Eco-stove. They then assess the amount of carbon credits saved and refund the client’s money,” she explained.

However, Twine could not specify or give contacts of the exact UN officials handling the carbon credits programme, her company is involved with. Energy and environment conservation are one of the several broad thematic areas that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works on in partnership with the Uganda government and various partners, New Vision has established.

UNDP publicist in Uganda, Michael Wangusa said the UN is aware of a carbon credit project here ran by Bill Farmer under the Uganda Carbon Bureau and it is funded by DFID, UK’s Department for International Development.

Wangusa said the carbon credit programme is run under the Kyoto protocol on climate change. But he denied knowledge of Eco-stove clients’ refunding. Farmer also denied any involvement with Eco-stove systems.

“We are not involved with Eco-stoves any way. I am afraid I cannot comment on how they operate their business,” he stated.

Contrary to the information Twine gave to New Vision about clients’ money being refunded, Farmer said; “We do not assess any of their clients, and we certainly are not involved in refunding stove purchase costs. We have no knowledge about their operations.”

According to Eco-stove System, says when a customer buys their stove and uses it for a year, they are entitled to a refund of the whole amount for saving carbon credits.

But, many of them say they have sought the refund from the company for over a year in vain. The refund is purportedly for saving energy by minimal use of biofuels hence saving trees which clean the environment of harmful emissions.

The Eco-stove systems website says the company develops and manufactures modern energy-efficient products which definately help to reduce wood consumption by 99%.

It enumerates other benefits as 99% smoke reduction improved health, elimination of black carbon, climate protection, electricity generation and meeting every day basic needs.

Eco-stoves clients stuck as refund stalls

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